Corvin A., Neuronal cell adhesion genes: key players in risk for schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and other neurodevelopmental brain disorders?, Cell Adhesion & Migration, 4, 4, 2010, 1-13
Cell Adhesion & Migration; 4; 4;
The major mental disorders, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are substantially heritable. Recent genomic studies have identified a small number of common and rare risk genes contributing to both disorders and support epidemiological evidence that genetic susceptibility overlaps between them. Prompted by the question of whether risk genes cluster in specific molecular pathways or implicate discrete mechanisms we and others have developed hypothesis-free methods of investigating genome-wide association datasets at a pathway-level. The application of our method to the 212 experimentally-derived pathways in the Kyoto Encycolpaedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) database identified significant association between the cell adhesion molecule (CAM) pathway and both schizophrenia and bipolar disorder susceptibility across three GWAS datasets. Interestingly, a similar approach applied to an autistic spectrum disorders (ASDs) sample identified a similar pathway and involved many of the same genes. Disruption of a number of these genes (including NRXN1, CNTNAP2 and CASK) are known to cause diverse neurodevelopmental brain disorder phenotypes including schizophenia, autism, learning disability and specific language disorder. Taken together these studies bring the CAM pathway sharply into focus for more comprehensive DNA sequencing to identify the critical genes, and investigate their relationships and interaction with environmental risk factors in the expression of many seemingly different neurodevelopmental disorders.
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